Hyundai and Kia Offer Free Software Updates to Combat “Kia Challenge”-Inspired Car Thefts
In response to a nationwide trend of car thefts linked to the “Kia Challenge” on TikTok, Hyundai and Kia are offering free software updates for their vehicles. Thieves known as “the Kia Boyz” posted instructional videos on how to bypass the vehicles’ security system using simple tools such as a USB cable.
The thefts were easy to pull off because many 2015-2019 Hyundai and Kia vehicles lacked electronic immobilizers that prevent thieves from breaking in and bypassing the ignition. The update modifies certain vehicle control modules, allowing for the factory alarm and “ignition kill” feature to activate when doors are locked with the key fob. The upgrade also requires a key in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.
The software update is available for Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard “turn-key-to-start” ignition systems. The trend has become viral, with statistics from individual cities showing a significant spike in thefts.
The software update from Hyundai and Kia will be provided free of charge to customers, who will be notified by mail about the update. The companies have also urged customers to take other precautions, such as parking in well-lit areas, not leaving valuables in the car, and using steering wheel locks or other anti-theft devices.
The response from Hyundai and Kia highlights the growing role of software in modern vehicles, which manufacturers can update remotely. The companies’ quick response to the thefts also reflects the urgency of the situation, as the Kia Challenge has become a dangerous trend on social media.
The thefts are just the latest example of social media challenges that have led to real-world consequences. In recent years, challenges such as the “Bird Box Challenge” and the “Tide Pod Challenge” have gone viral on social media, leading to injuries and even deaths.
While the “Kia Challenge” may have been intended as a harmless prank, the consequences have been anything but fruitful. The software update from Hyundai and Kia is an important step in addressing the issue, but it also highlights the need for increased awareness of the risks associated with social media challenges.
As more and more aspects of our lives become connected to the internet, it’s important to be mindful of the risks and to take steps to protect ourselves and our property.